Why Does My Air Conditioner Smell?

Does your home smell funky every time you turn on the air conditioner. Now that the weather is warm full-time, the last thing you want is to smell foul odors when you’re trying to stay out of the summer heat. Here’s why your air conditioner smells and how to fix it.

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Why Your Air Conditioner Smells

Air conditioners can release foul odors into your home if they have a buildup of mold or microbial growth.This growth can occur due to condensation on the refrigerator coils, a clogged drain pan, or if there’s a leak. Small rodents can also sneak their way into the condenser unit outside, becoming trapped and eventually dying within the unit. A lack of maintenance can cause these things to never be discovered, worsening the smell as time goes on.

Steps to Remove Foul Odors from the Air Conditioner

  1. Inspect the Unit – First things first, open up the outdoor unit and give it a visual inspection. Look for any dead animals, visible mold, or any leaks that could be causing microbial growth. Many times you will be able to easily see the cause of the odor.
  2. Clean the Unit – Using a foaming coil cleaner, spray the refrigerator coils and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing. Once that has been cleaned off, clean the rest of the unit of any dirt and growth with the proper cleaner and protection (latex gloves and a face mask).
  3. Clean the Drain Line and Pan – Remove the drain line from the unit and clean it with a solution of hot water and white vinegar (or bleach). This should kill any fungi or microbial growth inhabiting the line. The same should be done for the drain pan — remove and clean it with the same solution. Allow them both to fully dry before reinstalling.
  4. Replace Old Filters – Any filters inside of the unit should be changed or cleaned (if they’re reusable). Air filters should be replaced every one to three months or cleaned with a diluted bleach solution just as often.
  5. Check and Test – Once all of your maintenance has been performed, check that everything is installed where it should be and test the system by turning it on. If the foul odors still exist, the problem could be within your ductwork or a larger problem that will need an HVAC technician to troubleshoot.

Having an air conditioner that stinks up your entire home isn’t something you should put up with all summer. When you need HVAC repair, service, or replacement, contact Airtech of Stamford. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, give us a call at (203) 323-3959.

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